Bankers man the ramparts of our nation’s liberty. They are the point men in the eternal battle against the serfdom of ethics and integrity. This is why they want their handouts of public money with no strings attached.
In the lower echelons of society, this would be called extortion; in polite society, it’s called an economic stimulus plan.
As Wall Street’s cupbearer, Obama should understand this. Yet, he insists on attaching conditions to the bales of taxpayer money being pumped into our dying banks. This is cruel and must stop, and this is why Saturday’s Times tells us that our brave bankers are starting to shove back.
To begin with, they resent being forced to sell their toxic assets at less than the 91 cents on the dollar at which they are valuing them. The fact that a free market is only willing to pay 30 cents on the dollar is irrelevant. A free man deserves top dollar for his screw ups. Only an oppressive and authoritarian government would force him to sell them for what they’re worth.
They are also rebelling against the restrictions on executive pay that was a condition of the bailout. Such a restriction is like telling a mugger that he can only take fifty percent of his victim’s cash instead of all of it. The only way a banker can thrive is if he is allowed to game the system for all it’s worth.
So, some of the healthier banks are trying to give their handouts back, but are shocked and appalled to discover that the government is going to charge them interest. Interest is for suckers, not for freedom fighters!
Reality has no place in the world of finance corporatism. Finance corporatism is like the ads in Architectural Digest: suave, elegant and gaily colored. Such ads never show the termites that are gnawing away at the beams and joists. The last thing we want to do is raise our eyes and look at the destruction towards which we are marching.
Freedom is all about illusion, and Obama has a moral obligation to do all he can to preserve and protect it, and the first thing he must do is get off our bankers’ backs and let them do what they do best—act like Peter Pans who will never grow up!